A German court committed a woman to indefinite psychiatric care on Thursday for suffocating her five young sons with plastic trash bags.
The 32-year-old woman, named only as Steffi K., had been found guilty of killing the boys, aged between 3 and 9 years old, in the village of Darry in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Police found the bodies of the five boys in a house in Darry last December. The woman gave herself up and admitted doping the children before killing them.
"She told the court and the psychologist that she had heard voices threatening the children and she wanted to protect them. She killed them because she believed she was protecting them from these evil powers," said a spokesman for the court in Kiel.
The woman will remain in psychiatric care indefinitely, a sentence prosecutor Achim Hackethal said he was satisfied with.
Darry is a remote village near the Baltic Sea with about 450 residents.
The killings shocked Germans, especially because they came amid a spate of infanticides, tragic incidents that have raised worries about the level of support given to mothers, especially in eastern Germany where many of the cases have occurred.
Some clinics have even installed heated hatches for desperate mothers to deposit unwanted babies to try to save lives. The hatches set off an alarm if a baby is dropped off.